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Palm oil policy

Deforestation, carried out for the production of palm oil, is a serious issue. It significantly contributes to climate change and threatens the lives of wild animals and forest-dwelling communities.

As a certification scheme whose mark appears on foods that may contain palm oil as an ingredient, we want to make sure we are doing what we can to ensure that palm oil is sustainably and ethically sourced.

This policy was developed in 2019 in consultation with WWF and our retail partners.

What does this policy cover?

  • Requirements for appropriate sourcing of palm oil to be used in RSPCA Assured products

The information in these policies is subject to review.

As part of the largest animal welfare organisation in the UK, RSPCA Assured has an obligation to assure the welfare of animals wherever it is practical to do so; and not just those covered by its farm animal welfare certification scheme, but any animals which may be impacted by its actions.

It has come to our attention that some products carrying the RSPCA Assured certification mark include palm oil as an ingredient. While palm oil offers many benefits over other vegetable oils in terms of crop yield, reduced requirements in fertiliser, pesticides and energy input, irresponsible farming of oil palms has led to deforestation and the loss of habitat for jungle animals, including orangutans, elephants, rhinos and more.

It’s important that we strive to use the most sustainable options available, in order to minimise our impact on animals and the environment.

Following the guidance of WWF, RSPCA Assured will set out guidelines on its approach to palm oil with regards to products featuring the certification mark.

What this policy covers:

1. Appropriate sourcing of sustainable palm oil to be used in RSPCA Assured products

Sustainable palm oil: RSPO certification

As of 01 January 2020, we request that any new products only use RSPO certified palm oil. And as of 01 January 2021, we will require any existing products carrying the RSPCA Assured label to only include palm oil from RSPO certified growers. See Round Table and Sustainable Palm Oil for more information about this scheme.

Just as we currently would not permit the use of the RSPCA Assured logo on products that include ingredients with poor welfare provenance (e.g. eggs from caged birds, pork products from pigs raised on slatted systems), products that include palm oil from non-sustainable sources will also not be permitted to include the RSPCA Assured logo.

Why change?
For RSPCA Assured, protecting our environment, and the animals in it is crucial to our mission. In the future, we also hope to recognise members who make significant strides in this area.

This issue is gathering traction in the media, amongst pressure groups and with the general public more broadly. As one of the leading ethical assurance labels, we believe it is imperative to put policies in place to protect and fortify the reputation of the scheme, our partners and our members.


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